David’s Swiss Learning Adventure


Patient health is my top priority. My patients want an aesthetic and natural tooth replacement with no side effects for their health. Your teeth are more than just a tool for chewing.  If your teeth or your oral cavity are not healthy, this will affect other organs and bodily functions. Various metals or non-biocompatible materials can strongly impair patient health.

I have been interested in all ceramic implants used in dentistry as a viable alternative to traditional metal titanium implants for 8 years. In 2006, I travelled to Auckland to become accredited with the Swiss Z-Systems one-piece implant system. Over the years, the design and surface of the Zirconia has been optimized with 2014 seeing the development of a two-piece Z-System implant system, which is available now in Australia.

My original training in Implant dentistry was back in 1996 and took over a year long in Harley Street. Back then; all implant systems were two-piece systems. Initially a titanium implant was placed and then, after 4-6 months healing, an abutment was screwed into the implant allowing a crown or bridge to be placed to replace missing teeth.

As a holistic dentist, I am aware of the possibility of an electrical charge being present between the implant and surrounding metal in the mouth, including mercury amalgam. This has often limited my options with a patient unless the rest of the mouth is restored with metal free options. This is why I pursued the Zirconia alternative.

There are now many dentists throughout Germany and Switzerland who have been successfully placing Zirconia implants for over 12 years. My aim is to have the first Holistic Metal Free Implant and Restorative Practice in Australia.

This is why I took a trip to Zurich in December to get accredited with another popular Zirconia Implant System called Zeramex. They are the first company to have designed a screw retained two-piece implant system that duplicates the original titanium design, only without metal in the screws and abutment.

After flying to London with my family I rested for a day and then set out to make the trip to Zurich for training and return on the same day – Just two stops on the efficient train service from the airport to Altstetten where the Dentalpoint office is situated. The accreditation of this exciting system took the majority of the day but was so exciting that the day passed so quickly.

I plan to become the sponsor of the system in Australia and am currently investigating the TGA application.

To be able to offer a ‘total metal free dental solution’ is now possible. Zirconia has been a revolutionary material in the construction of strong crown and bridge solutions.

Perhaps one day all dental implants will be metal free.

If you are considering having an implant to replace a missing or damaged tooth you might like to consider Zirconia as an option. The Osseo-integration has been shown to be on par with titanium in a recent University of Bern study by Professor Daniel Buser.

Here are some answers to your possible questions on Zirconia implants

What is wrong with titanium as I thought it was biocompatible with the body?

Titanium has been used successfully for over 45 years with great success. Titanium implants do have a normal corrosive behaviour but compared to other metal they offer relatively good immunological tolerance. There are a high proportion of patients who have gum redness and inflammation around these implants. This is called peri-implantitus and is a sign your body is reacting to the presence of oxidized titanium particles that are released into the body. It may be looked upon as the first sign of rejection. There is a blood test called Melissa that can identify if you have an allergic reaction to such metals. There is no peri-implantitus around a Zirconia implant and does not cause any inflammatory reactions in the human organism.

Do they cost more than a titanium implant?

The cost of Z-Systems and Zeramex implants are on par with placement of the best Titanium systems.

Can they replace a front tooth without having to wear a denture for a while?

An immediate replacement implant retained tooth is possible, but if you are dealing with an infection in the tooth it is recommended to allow at least two months healing prior to placement of an implant

How do I go about getting assessed for this procedure?

Contact Dental Wellness and schedule an initial comprehensive consultation with Dr David Cowhig. We will give you a detailed outline of all your treatment plans, costs and time frame.

For more information on this exciting new service we are adding to our practice you can visit the Zeramex website.

We are extremely passionate about all we have learnt and love sharing our learnings with you. Stay posted for updates!